Government has launched the collection of inputs by farmers under the Farmer Inputs Support Programme (FISP) for the 2019/2020 farming season.
Agriculture Minister MICHAEL KATAMBO says the FISP is expected to be a great success this year as due to early inputs distribution.Speaking during the launch of input collection in Chilanga, Mr KATAMBO said so far, about 900, 000 farmers have already deposited their K400 contributions out of the one million targeted beneficiaries, which is an unprecedented record.Mr KATAMBO says the depositing period has been extended to 31st October, and has appealed to farmers who have not yet deposited to do so before the end of October.
And Smart Zambia National Coordinator Dr MARTIN MTONGA says the Zambia Integrated Agricultural Information System (ZIAMIS) has been refined to the level where it is able to detect malpractices.
Dr MTONGA says the system will ensure that only the rightful small-scale farmer beneficiaries access the inputs.
He says the system has already detected and removed over 7, 000 civil servants who wanted to benefit from FISP, and that necessary action will be taken against them.
And Agriculture Permanent Secretary SONGOWAYO ZYAMBO says FISP implementation has been decentralised and that the oversight function will be handled by the Provincial Administrations, down to the district level.
Mr ZYAMBO has urged civil servants to refrain from malpractices under FISP, and that those who will be found wanting, will be disciplined.
Meanwhile, input suppliers have pledged to work with government in actualising the FISP programme.
Speaking on behalf of input suppliers, Nyimba Investments Head of Sales and Marketing WILLINGS Mulendema has commended government for the early awarding of contracts, which has enabled suppliers to position inputs early.